From the 19th of October, the Chilean stat has been overrun by thousands of insurrectionary peoples who have occupied the streets and squares of the country. The mass demonstrations, originally due to the raising of ticket prices for public transport, developed into a generalised insurrection which sweeps everything in its path.
The first acts of social disobedience began with callings for mass forced entries into and sabotage of public transport, with thousands of high school and university students breaking the protective gates and entering the metro lines, quickly facing state repression.
The images we see form Chile remind us of the insurrectionary metropolitan landscape of Athens, when clashes with police, expropriation and looting of department stores, the vandalism of state and capitalist targets, and the passion for the struggle which flooded our own roads was a reality which clashed with that imposed on us by capitalism.
At this moment, the insurrectionaries of Chile face, on their streets, the whole “range” of state repression, because except for the rifles and tear gas of the police, on Friday night, President Piñera decided to impose a state of emergency on the city of Santiago, sending tanks to its streets and imposing a night-time curfew. It is the first time after the fall of the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile that the army is taking to the streets to repress demonstrators, whereas, at the moment of writing, there are 7,000 arrested and at least 18 dead (some sources state more), 4 shot by cops, the others run over by military vehicles.
One of the central slogans heard on the streets of Chile is that “the insurrection in Chile is not for 30 pesos, but for 30 years.” In this way, it is shown that the occasion for the insurrection may have been the increase in ticket prices, but the causes and reasons are in the system itself, the deepest roots of which have not changed after the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship.
Chile, in the years of the dictatorship, was – aside for being one of the most repressive states on the planet when it comes to the “freedoms” of the urban classes – an experiment-state, on which the most extreme neoliberal economic policies were imposed. Everything was privatised (peaking at insurance), harsh measures of financial stability in the model of the IMF were imposed, leading to the violent distribution of income favoring the wealthy and ruling classes, the intensifying of class disparities, the limitation of public expenditure, the rise in unemployment, etc. This all happened with the dear cooperation of the group of technocratic economists (the so-called Chicago school), who, taking advantage of the iron fist of the dictatorship, attempted to impose the absolute capitalist paradise in Chile, in accordance with the motto that:
“The only acceptable frame for economic development is that in which the private sector can operate freely. The private corporation is now the only effective form of economic organisation and, thus, the private sector should be the the predominant factor in the economy. Price fluctuation should be formed freely and according to the rules of market competitiveness.”
Our reference to the years of the Pinochet dictatorship is not random. If anyone would like to investigate the causes behind the Chilean insurrection, they could look at the reality in which the poor and excluded live. Despite the move to a ‘liberal’ democracy and the supposed liberties it allows for, the core of the economic policy adopted by Pinochet has remained unchanged, whereas it is common knowledge that Piñera’s government has a direct relationship to that of Pinochet. The basic areas of the economy are all in private hands; the Pinochet insurance (the same which the New Democracy government wants to adopt in Greece), which imposes on each worker to give 10% of their salary to 6 insurance monopolies is still in place; 54% of the population lives on 440 Euros a month, on average, 1/6th of which they are forced to give to transport to and from their places of wage slavery. All this, whereas all show Chile as one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America, with 2% inflation and ‘development’ which will soon reach 2.5% of the GDP. Another example of the development indexes of states being nothing but the indexes of the profit of capital, out of touch with the lives of those under them, constantly underestimated by the checks of the current economic dictatorship.
During the insurrection, dozens of urban buses and metro trains have succumbed to the flames, whereas commercial goods are being expropriated from the windows and shelves of department stores. Multinational corporations and their facilities are being burnt, workers from the largest sectors of the economy are striking and taking to the streets.
It is in these moments where individuals choose to neglect the questions of the propaganda of the ruling class, asking how they will go to work the next day, how many positions will be lost due to the sabotage, how many taxes they will pay the government for the destruction, for the simple reason that they decide to be at a point of no return, they decide to turn against the web of the capitalist metropolis, recognising it as a carrier of oppression, they decide to remove, through praxis, their roles within the system, to become the fire of insurrection.
“The metropolis is a totalitarian institution. Rather, it is the quintessential totalitarian institution. Because it constitutes a space of realisation of the total, real reign of capital, the field of the greatest differentiation of the social methods of repression and the control of its divergent contradictions.
Oppression and mediation for the constrictive processes on the one hand, control and repression for the explosive on the other.” (from the pamphlet Drops of Sun in the City of Specters)
Except for the causes we mentioned, we cannot forget the strong anarchist movement in Chile. Anarchist groups, squats, urban guerilla organisations, dozens of political prisoners in cells, and the interconnection with struggles for land and freedom (especially with that of the Mapuche), and others, created a fertile ground from which the struggle became a reality, from an individual protest about an increase in ticket prices to a generalised insurrection against the oppressive Piñera regime, as well as the rotten capitalist values generally. Shortly, the current insurrectionary events did not happen suddenly, instead, they build on the dozens of moments of revolt in the past. On the widespread clashes against Piñera’s educational measures in 2011. On the frequent clashes of anarchists and youth against security forces outside universities. On the dozens of attacks by direct action groups. On the armed expropriation of temples of capital from anarchist comrades. On the hunger strikes of the dignified prisoners in the Chilean hellholes. On the struggle of the Mapuche for Land and Freedom, against the state and multinationals which ravage their land. On the militant demonstrations in all the past years. Thus, organisation, clashes, the infrastructure, but most importantly, militancy and decisiveness, not only keep “the flame lit,” but also create fertile ground for the great insurrectionary events which we all desire to take form.
We feel it is our duty as anarchists to support, through our actions, the struggles of the oppressed on the whole planet; especially in a country like Chile where there is a strong and militant anarchist movement (contrasting with the focus on promoting “alternative” viewpoints and focusing on negotiating “rights” from the ruling classes, something which unfortunately dominates the movement in other countries), and to turn into praxis the call for solidarity between those fighting against states, authority, and capitalism. Let us connect the thread which unites insurrectionary Chile with the magnificent demonstrations in Lebanon for freedom. The thread which unites the Yellow Jackets (as well as other movements in France) with the widespread demonstrations in Ecuador against the new IMF financial measures. The thread which connects social turmoil against economic scandals in Haiti with the bloody and fatal insurrection in Iraq. The thread which unites the struggles against war, militarism and fascism with the peoples who shed their blood under the war machines of nations. Because we cannot and should not forget that one of the greatest dangers for the insurrectionaries is the non-internationalisation of resistance, and the passing of insurrection into memory. Let us not allow it.
We close this call with the words of our own comrades, who, at this moment, are fighting in the trenches and offering us wonderful moments of doubt against the state monopoly on violence.
“Tomorrow begins a new day of class struggle.
Let us take everything!
Occupy schools and universities and make them into storage spaces for supplies, spaces for resistance and protection.
Occupy pharmacies and gas stations, for our actions and for home equipment.
Continue to loot large super markets, obtain goods from free markets and protect small neighbourhood shops.
This is a call to the migrant population, so they do not feel alienated from the struggle. We all live through the injustices of this system. We are all proletarians.
Finally, take care of one another, organise self-defence and do not keep any empathy for the protectors of the rich and their orders.
Bastards are those who condemn proletarian violence!
Let us go, for life!”
Thursday, October 31: Microphonic solidarity gathering at Propylaia, 18:00
Friday, November 1: Demonstration outside the Chilean Embassy at 18:00 – Pre-demo at 17:30 at the Evangelismos Metro, Rizari Exit (the park)
Assembly of Solidarity to the Insurrection in Chile